Feature- BBN: A Contagious Show That Breeds Disunity

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By Christian  Nnabuife

One of my female friend who is an avid follower of the Big Brother Naija(BBN) TV reality show, told me few days ago that this year’s  edition of the show will end tomorrow. Because  it was a phone conversation, she couldn’t see my mien which was radiating with suspended smile coated satisfaction. Immediately  I dropped  my phone, and ask myself, ‘So, this show will end finally?’

Yes, this year’s  BBN edition  dubbed ‘Lockdown Series’ will end on Sunday. By then the luckiest and last five housemates  would have completed their long, enduring, adventurous and torturous 90 days in the house. A winner from these last five, will go  home with a whooping sum of Eighty Five Million Naira, an exotic car, an all expenses  paid trip to Dubai and other mouth watering incentives.

On the other hand, sponsor(s) of the show would have raked in billions of naira into their  account, the government and media are not left out in the banquet, while the enthusiastic fans who voted with their hard earned money and  followed religiously for the 90 days gets nothing. Sadly, the fans are like the proverbial birds that laid the golden eggs for the sponsors of the show.

Voting for a favourite  housemate who is up for eviction cost #30. And such voter would require lots of votes to remain in the house. However, I’m not disturbed by the amount a fan expends on his or her favorite housemate, but the seeming dangerous direction the whole voting process is taking in a fragile nation like Nigeria.

The campaigns for favourite housemates on social media is taking the shape of our politics in Nigeria, the I-must-win-mentality. These campaigns are gradually taking the shape of “do or die,” it’s creating fertile ground for slander, libel, vituperations, mudslinging, invasion of privacy and character assassination which are recipe for anarchy. This  developments are unhealthy for a country that’s threatened by ethno-religious cum political crisis.

Research has shown that 60 to 70% of the viewers in Nigeria are vibrant youths. The implications is that the show could precipitate violence if there is no mechanism to check verbal abuse or attacks by concerned bodies. Since the dawn of the show, every edition  of the show has generated more controversies more than the fuel subsidy removal amongst Nigerian youths. Is that not ridiculous? These are youths who will never come out to vote for a good candidate on election day, but can vote and re-vote a particular housemate with his or her hard earned money.

During the week, a guy was almost lynched in Lagos while trying to vote for his preferred  housemate with recharge  cards and material provided by fans of another housemate in a voting center.  I’m sure he wouldn’t  leave that spot untouched. Though he was totally  wrong, but imagine he came for reprisal attack with some bad gangs! Your guess is as good as mine. Unfortunately,  all the people  I saw in the video footage are vibrant youths!

Few days later, I saw posters, billboards of housemates at some vantage position in the city. I saw youths sharing recharge  cards and other freebies.  I saw branded T shirts, Face caps, Polos and jingles on the internet. I was told they have sponsors with deep pockets and even some state governments. Any state government that used a dime from its treasury for frivolous programme like this, is careless and insensitive to the plights of its citizens and further widening the gap of division in the country subconsciously.

Those who waged war of words on Social media during last year’s Pepper Dem edition, how far? Did Mercy Ekeh ever  come to your house for a ‘thank you visit’ like Godwin Obaseki is doing now to those who help him secure Edo governorship seat for the second time?  I didn’t  hear nor see it on any media channels that she organized a party  for her fans in Anambra,  Delta,  or Imo states after all the votes and unholy noises.

I know Big Brother Naija is contagious and that’s  why people like us who don’t watch the show are immune to it and the verbal attacks that comes with it. The cure will finally  come tomorrow when the show is expected to end. Love. Don’t hate. I wish our youths can deploy same gusto ‘we’ use to campaign and vote for our favourite  housemate to national issues and participate  fully in national  issues and  development, Nigeria  would have been better a place.

Congratulations  to the winner in advance.

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